Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Turnovers Hurt Ohio in Loss to Akron

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Ohio’s late push fell short Tuesday night, as the division leading Akron Zips topped the Bobcats 80-68 in a crucial conference game.

“That’s Akron,” Treg Setty said. “They got up in us a little bit, but some of it is our fault. We beat ourselves a lot. It’s really frustrating when you find out how many points you left on the board.”

The ‘Cats led for just 1:08 in the game, and the game was tied for 3:51. Early in the contest, Ohio had trouble finishing near the rim. A falling away hook shot missed by Tony Campbell and Setty’s easy look that rolled off the rim were some missed opportunities that dug Ohio a hole it could not dig itself out of.

Offensively, both teams were headed by their big men. Campbell put together another solid outing, as he recorded yet another double-double. He finished the contest with 18 points and 12 boards. Akron’s Isaiah Johnson proved to be a force in the post as well, nabbing nine rebounds and scoring 18 points.

Josh Williams, who finished with 20 for the Zips, sometimes found success because of his big man. Johnson’s production required more attention from Ohio, and perimeter shooters were an outlet pass away from a good look when Johnson was down low. Akron also used screens and kick-out passes off penetration to get open looks for shooters.

Noah Robotham also met the double digit mark, scoring 14 points. Robotham did most of his work at the free throw line, as he went 11-12 from the charity stripe. The Zips also added 45 points from their bench players compared to Ohio’s 11.

Two more Bobcats finished the night in double figures, as Setty scored 17 points and Kenny Kaminski recorded 12. Jaaron Simmons scored seven and accounted for eight assists, including a nice feed to a wide open Kaminski on the baseline to cut a first half deficit to single digits.

Akron did not light it up from 3-point range at 32 percent, but its long balls were timely. When the ‘Cats clawed their way back to a three or four-point deficit multiple times in the second half, the Zips often hit the big shots to extend their lead.

Coming into the game, the Zips led the NCAA in 3-point FG defense, holding opponents to 27 percent beyond the arc. The Green and White shot 30 percent from long range, and Kaminski was the only Bobcat to record more than one 3-pointer on the night.

Ball control became an issue once again for the ‘Cats. They turned it over 13 times, and Simmons was responsible for eight. Ohio also fell back into foul trouble Tuesday night as Campbell saw time on the bench with four fouls and Simmons ended his night early when he fouled out.

“Weaknesses are weaknesses for a reason,” Saul Phillips said of his team’s struggles in those areas. “Those things went away for quite some time, but they just resurfaced tonight.”

Ohio looks to get back on track in the MAC when it hosts West division foe Northern Illinois on Saturday at 2 PM.